Introduction

Apple didn't show up, Dell sent their cat, and Lenovo was not interested in attending, but there were still 6100 other exhibitors in the 27 huge expo halls at the "Hannover Messe". Although plenty of booth babes and jet engines on top of monstrous heatsinks were present, we managed to concentrate on the server and storage technology that could be found at CeBIT 2007.


IBM's booth had style, but too much woolly language

In this report we cover the new products of Tyan, Supermicro, Chenbro, Promise, Fujitsu-Siemens and MSI. But to make sure that is not yet another CeBIT report, you will also find an analysis of the AMD "Barcelona" chip and how it compares to Intel's upcoming Xeon products.

Tyan

It was remarkable how many new and improved products were targeted at the HPC market. Although there were plenty of barebones servers and motherboards available, all attention went to Tyan's PSC, previously known as "Typhoon".


Tyan's T-650Qx

The "new" idea behind the PSC is that the scientist/3D artist should be able to render/simulate on his own Personal Super Computer instead being dependent on the whims of a strict dictator [also called a system administrator] to get access to blade servers in the datacenter. Blade servers can pack more crunching power in the same space, but the newly launched Tyan PSC T-500 and T-650Qx do not produce more than 52 dB of noise. 52 dB is far from whisper quiet as some have described it, but it is silent enough to be put under a desk and it won't create a Typhoon like a Blade server.

While the previously launched PSC featured four computing boards, the new PSC has five of them, each with two CPU sockets. The T-500A uses dual core Socket-F Opterons and can contain up to 20 cores and 80GB (16GB per computing board). The interesting thing is that the "master node" has also a PCIe x16 slot, which allows you to use a high-end graphics chip to visualize your rendering or simulation.

The real star is the T-650Qx which can use the new Intel Xeon L5310, the 1.6 GHz 50W low voltage quad core Xeon. At the Tyan booth, the Xeon 5150 (Dual core 2.66 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB) was used, running Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 and Wolfram's Mathematica. You can use up to eight cores and 12GB per node, good for a total maximum of 60GB RAM and 40 cores (256 GFLOPs) for the complete PSC. Each Tyan PSC has three 600W PSUs. Prices start at $20,000, which is a bit less "personal", but the price/performance for the PSC is pretty reasonable in comparison to the competition.

There were other original ideas at Tyan's booth. For example's Tyan's Tank FT48, a 4U rack or tower server, which has two vertical memory daughter boards to save some space on the board.


This allows the board to have space for two 100 MHz PCI-X slots, two 133 MHz PCI-X slots, and two PCIe x16 slots (x8 electrically), as well as one PCI slot.


This is an excellent idea, as the whole purpose of 4U server is to give more I/O expandability compared to a 1U, where 16 DIMM slots leave little space:


Another remarkable Server is the Tyan VX50, which was updated to use up to eight dual core Opterons, or 16 cores in total. The 5U VX50 mounts two nForce Pro 2200 based boards on top of each other, and offers 32 DIMM slots.


This is quite a remarkable machine with a lot of processing power, but it might be rather complex to service this machine. Personally, we would have preferred to see a SAS controller with one cable to the backplane, instead of eight separate SATA cables.


The Tyan VX50 is powered by a powerful 3+1 PSU combination, good for 1620W total.

Supermicro
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  • BikeDude - Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - link

    I've tried to use SuperMicro's management software in the past and quite frankly it is pure and utter c---.

    Last week I tried HP's management software, and could install the entire OS from a remote location. I could map a .iso image to the blade in question and it booted right up.

    OTOH, as I recall, SuperMicro's remote desktop solution is based on VNC. Where HP lets you remotely access the console from before POST is even run, SuperMicro forces you to first install the OS.

    (We have lots of Tyan and SuperMicro servers, but of course we might've missed something fundamental along the way -- but... HP has a very nice package once the hardware has been hooked up to the power outlet and your network switch)
    Reply
  • Xenoterranos - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    "Enermax showed how much hardware its Galaxy 1000W can power. According to Enermax, the PSU delivered 933 W to 24 80GB hard disks, four Opteron 8212 CPUs, four 3Ware 9650 drive controllers, a GeForce 7600GX and 8GB of RAM (16 x 512MB)."

    ...or 2 GeForce 8800's.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    quote:

    The only thing missing is an internal SAS controller; the internal disk bays only support SATA. A positive is the fact that two USB ports are available on the front of the server.


    So now we 'need' usb ports on the front of a rack mount server ?! I'd rather have onboard SAS to be honest ;)

    Interresting toys, no doubt.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    Well, I find sometimes very handy for installing quickly a driver or a small testprogram etc. Or in some cases to add a USB CDROM, or to make a quick backup on a USB harddisk.

    Do you feel that USB has no use on the front of a server?
    Reply
  • neogodless - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    I've heard of Home Theatre PC (HTPC) but HPC... is...? Reply
  • laok - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    High Performance Computing Reply
  • Desslok - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    Tyan should have taken the silica bag off that system before showing it off. Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    Hellz no! The silica bag and the inanimate carbon rod are the main reasons people flock to these shows. Reply
  • ravedave - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    So the Barcelona is no longer known as the K8L and is now again being called the K10? When is the launch for this part? Last I saw it was Q1, which is almost over...

    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    AFAIK, the K8L name was never used by AMD: it was invented on the Internet. THe K10 will be launched mid 2007 (that is all AMD says), probably the Summer of 2007 Reply

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